I made the spur of the moment decision to give away our flock of chickens over the weekend.  I truly enjoy keeping chickens, but I have shouted the words, “Watch out for chicken poop!” too frequently lately I guess.  The chickens are really, really bad about using the bathroom on our porches.  When Silas dragged his tricycle into the house complete with chicken poop on one of the wheels I just knew I needed to eliminate this from my life right now.  I put out an offer on Facebook, and a friend whom I haven’t seen in years came over the next day to pick up the flock to add to her own.  I was so happy to see her that it cut the sadness of giving away the chickens.  I know it was the right decision for where we are right now, without a doubt.

Ironically, we discovered the body of our old cat Nicodemus over the weekend as well.  He had curled up in a ball next to the house and gone to sleep, never to wake again.  I say ironically because he was the other creature guilty of relieving himself on the porch.  We’ve been talking about euthanasia for him for a couple of years now, but haven’t because he didn’t seem to be suffering and he was the girls’ favorite cat.  We’ve just dealt with his regular “accidents” on the porch and fed him soft food to accommodate his toothless mouth.  He really was the dearest old cat and we loved him.  The poor girls have shed many tears over the past couple of days.  I’ve been instructed to print every picture I can find of him.  I spent hours searching for photos of him yesterday, and I couldn’t find any!  I do not have a system for organizing photos and storing them and I rarely print anything.  Essentially I am guilty of taking too many photos, clogging up hard drives with them all, and not being able to find those that I need to because of the absolute lack of organization.

Jonny bought me a brown turkey fig tree  for Mother’s Day (back in May) and it has been sitting in the pot it came in ever since, waiting to be planted.  I confess I have made maybe more than one comment about that over the months since he gave it to me.  I was grateful to still have it sitting there this weekend though, ready to be planted over Nicodemus’ grave.  I know that it brought Larkspur a bit of comfort.

After all the time spent searching for photos of Nicodemus yesterday, it occurred to me to type his name into my blog’s search function.  Thank goodness for the blog.  I found the following photo of Larkspur with Nic, taken a couple of years ago.  I’ll be printing it this week along with some others to make an album for her.

My boys are cleaning the front porch for me this morning.  I am excited about the prospect of sitting out there through the fall with my knitting, watching my little ones play, and not having to shout, “Watch out for chicken poop!!!”



  1. HUGS all around

  2. Wasn’t it in Steel Magnolias, “laughter through tears is the best emotion?” Really explains my response to this tender post. Blessings to y’all!

  3. Ginny,
    I remember when it was time to find new homes for our goats. I was so sad, we loved them so much, but afterwards was such a relief. We really needed to lighten our load of responsibility and we found a great home for them.
    I’m glad that your cat passed so peacefully.

    Enjoy your front porch.


  4. Good for you to pass on the chickens to a friend and streamline your life a little bit more. Also, a great way to memorialize your cat by planting the fig tree. (sjn821 on Rav)

  5. This is the best advice I have ever read about organizing and PRINTING years of photos… needless to say I’ve yet to actually get down to it myself but, you know, the idea is there in my brain waiting for the opportunity. With our fourth child on the way it really is time to start soon!

    Chicken poo and kids just do not mix. It is the stinkiest stuff in the world but I’m not sure I could live without the freshest, yellow-est eggs… I think pregnancy makes you quite ruthless though! All the best x

  6. i put up a gate on our back porch to stop the poo….i failed. the poo got on the kids shoes and bare feet….then it was not only tracked on to the porch but the house…hahahaha

  7. I can very much relate to chicken poop on the porch! xx

  8. Seems like he went peacefully, which is a comfort. Our cats have insisted on becoming outdoor cats and with the new baby, I didn’t have the energy to fight it anymore. I hope they don’t get hurt as we still love them dearly.

  9. Oh that is so sad about your sweet cat. Thank goodness it was a friend of yours who took the chickens! That is wonderful. It is better for you to have peace at this time.

  10. Please pass along my sadness to the girls over the loss of their cat. Losing a pet is never an easy thing & to lose your chickens (yeah no more poop) & you cat at the same time can be very hard!!!

  11. With each of my four pregnancies I found that I had a clearer understanding each time on what “had to go” and what “had to happen” to feel fully prepared for the newest member of our family.

    Bravo to you for making the difficult — but ultimately freeing — decision. Just because there aren’t chickens now doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy them in the future.

    Best to you!

  12. I scraped chicken poop off my four year old’s foot this morning. My son had it on his bum the other day. I know the feeling so well of wanting to relinquish all “extras”!

    Sorry about the loss of Nicodemus!

  13. this reminds me of when jon sat in cat poop on the couch many MANY years ago….. sometimes we just have to separate our living space from that of our animals’. you chickens will be happy where they are now. and i am so sorry about your kitty. to every thing, there is a season….

  14. My sympathy on the loss of your kitty. However it comes, saying good-bye is difficult.
    I can also empathize with your photo situation. I am guilty of the same. :-S

  15. I’m so sorry for your loss of Nicodemus, Ginny. We said goodbye to our old Great Dane this weekend. He had a heart attack so it was a sudden loss. I love the idea of printing off photos to make an album. My kids would love that, and it might make the goodbye just a tiny bit easier for them.

  16. So sorry about your cat. So sad when our pets die.

    We keep our chickens in a fenced run. Mind, in the city we can only have four, and we’ve got a big yard, so they’ve plenty of room …

  17. I seem to recall another post of yours very similar to this chicken-wise a few years ago…was it when you were pregnant with Silas? Maybe part of your nesting and baby prep is to decrease as much as possible the amount of poop cleanup. Which, of course, is totally valid. I have been VERY tempted the last few months to give our cat away. She doesn’t receive the love she craves here and I really have begun to resent the litter box and the claw marks on my furniture. But she is the sweetest thing. Perhaps Lark would like a new friend? 😉 So sorry about Nico. It sounds like he had a very good life.

    • I think it was the fall after Silas was born…something about heading into winter with a baby. It works out well to take a fall and winter break from chickens from time to time I think. I am definitely simplifying wherever I can in preparation for this next baby!

  18. So sorry about Nicodemus….Such sweet pictures of him with your kids.

  19. So sorry about your kitty! We have an aging 17-year-old cat who vomits all over the house these days (read: past year) and we keep thinking that we will find her someday much as you found Nic. However, she still seems happy and appears to have the proverbial 9 lives…

    Chicken poop would undo me.

  20. so sorry to hear about your cat….we have had many dogs come and go
    through the years and for us it is like loosing a member of the family…
    you can always get more chickens for your coop again, sounds like
    you did the right thing especially with a new little one on the way to
    take care of…knitting out on your porch watching your young ones
    play sounds like so much fun and goodness……just love your photos
    around your home…your children are beautiful!

  21. Yes, “Don’t step in the poop” is a common refrain at our house too. I can certainly understand how one might reach a poop breaking point, particularly with a new little one and all the “exploring the world with our mouth” that comes with.

    So sorry to hear about your kitty, though.

  22. I’m so sorry for the sadness of your little ones, but I hope this will make a great good change in your life.

  23. Even when their death comes with old age or illness struggles, and you know it’s for the best, it is so hard to lose a pet. They are firmly so entrenched in our hearts, families and lives where they remain a part of our stories forever.

  24. I have been searching for a set of dryer balls locally without any luck. These look great.

  25. So sorry about your losses…the voluntary and involuntary. I couldn’t deal with chicken poop and a newborn either, so that, to me, was a good call. The cat curling up and dying reminded me of Ramona and Beezus finding ol’ Picky Picky in the basement. There is much comfort in knowing he just curled up and went to sleep. Much better than almost all alternatives.

    • That chapter with Ramona and Beezus taking care of Picky Picky was so touching! We all cried, my husband included, but we all remember it as a wonderful part of those books.

  26. Oh Ginny, I completely understand about the chicken poop! While I do plan to let our ladies out while I am in the garden, I’ve no intention of giving them free rein. (part chicken safety, part poop sanity!)
    So sad to hear about your kitty…. even when the time is right, loss is hard for little ones.
    On the album subject…. have you found anything you love? I’ve yet to find an album that will hold up to my lovely picture lookers….. and I too have a jumble of many photos. So much to do, so little time 🙂

    • I use shutterfly to make albums for my family. Just upload the photos and they will print and bind it just like a book. My littles think it’s the best thing ever to have a “real book” of themselves! 😉

  27. Sad news about your cat, but it sounds though he had a good life and was well cared for and loved by you. He was obviously ready to curl and up and let go which is not nice, but no suffering or illness. I am sure that the chickens will have a great time at their new home – and you will have a great time not dealing with the mess they made. Hope that you enjoy getting all your cat pictures together and remembering some happy times.

  28. glad that you found a lovely home for the chickens and sorry to hear about your dear cat. I can only imagine the amount of photos you have in digital form. I find mine from memory :/ So you can guess how good that system is.

    I am enjoying the weather that has breezed through town and have a door opened to listen to the outside-simple pleasures 🙂

  29. So sorry about your cat. We’ve recently had to find new homes for some of our animals also. Moving. Our chickens were hard, harder still was the best dog we’ve ever had. But I know it waa best for her, moving from acreage to a trailer park, she just didn’t have the room she needed.

  30. I’m sorry about your dear kitty. Cats are such good friends, in the very best of ways.

  31. Sending condolences on the loss of your lovely cat. We have two elderly dogs we just love, don’t want to think about their passing anytime soon. I think your fig tree will be a really lovely tribute.

    I can understand you finding new homes for your hens. We’re also planning on keeping much less in the way of poultry soon; we’ve had a bad year, too many foxes/rats/snakes! A few bantams and ducks as pets will suit us much better. We too have a new little one due, at Christmas…we need to take it easy on ourselves mama 🙂 xx

  32. I would have gone crazy with chickens pooping on my porch and kids running in and out.

    How did you collect eggs? Did you have nesting boxes or did they lay in favorite areas in the yard? How did you keep them safe from predators?

    I wish someone near me would want to give away laying hens, we lost nine last week from an owl attack after a wicked storm rolled in and the girls didn’t go into their coop for hiding under it.

    • They did all their laying in their next boxes in the coop–were very good about returning to their boxes for that. We let them out around noon each day and locked them up again at night. We’ve only lost a handful of chickens to predators over the years. The last raccoon to steal a chicken was trapped and dealt with…. I’m sorry about your girls!! I can’t imagine losing nine!

  33. So sorry for the loss of Nic! It is a hard discovery to make. I found our 16 year old cat curled under the dining room table a few years ago after I returned home from work. We had to laugh later as the housekeeper had been here that day and she must have just vacuumed around him. :(. Blessing to Lark.

    • As sad as it to find an elderly pet’s body, I had to chuckle over the thought of your housekeeper vacuuming around your dead cat!! 🙂

  34. Condolences to the girls for the loss of Nicodemus. Sorry you couldn’t keep the chickens but I agree, no chicken poop on my doorstep! Glad they have a good home.

  35. So sorry for your loss of dear Nic. hugs to the girls. A friend of mine is due in January and giving us her chickens. Perhaps this occurs with th approach of a new wee one quite often!

    • Maybe!! The thought of having a newborn and having to deal with chicken poop being tracked in–it just sent me over the edge.

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